Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels

26 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique
    by MichaelFalk1969
  • "Antoine de Bourgogne " R. van der...
    by breughel
  • Brugge museum - Virgin by Hans Memlinc 1487.
    Brugge museum - Virgin by Hans Memlinc...
    by breughel
  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Royal Museum of Fine Arts I - Flemish Primitives

    by breughel Updated Feb 27, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Girl with death bird by Juan de Flandes.
    2 more images

    The MUSEUM of ANCIENT ART - OLD MASTERS MUSEUM (part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts) is one of the finest European paint museums.

    Concerning this Ancient Art department - 15th century, there is sometimes confusion between Flemish and Dutch painters which I would like to clarify.
    There are indeed museums who mention "Early Netherlandish", "Southern Netherlandish" for painters who belong to the Flemish school, the so called "Flemish Primitives". The reference to the Netherlands is correct from a geo-political point of view when Belgium and the present Netherlands were united until the end of the 16th century, when separation occurred between the southern catholic provinces and the northern independent Calvinist republic.
    But from a point of view of art the term "Netherlandish" is misleading as this Flemish school of the 15th century can not be mixed with the Dutch school reaching her summit in the 17th century with Vermeer and Rembrandt.
    The correct term of "Primitifs Flamands" appeared in 1902 at an exhibition in Bruges. The Flemish "Primitives" were in fact revolutionary pioneers by developing space and perspective in the pictorial art.

    The great names of this school are the brothers Van Eyck, Le Maître de Flémalle (= Robert Campin?), Rogier van der Weyden, Petrus Christus, Thierry Bouts, Juste de Gand, Hugo van der Goes, Jérôme Bosch, Hans Memlinc , Gerard David.
    Some of these painters were born in the present Holland like Jerome Bosch and Thierry Bouts but worked in the southern provinces, or were from Tournai in the present Walloon part of Belgium. Next to these great masters there were a number of "Petits Maîtres".
    The Flemish art of the 15th c. had a great influence in other countries, Germany, Italy, Holland, France and especially Spain.

    One might think that the Flemish Primitives did only paint religious subjects. Not at all, the portraits were very important; more than 500 have reached us.
    There is a beautiful portrait, attributed to Juan de Flandes, "La fillette à l'oiseau mort", a painting which by itself justifies a trip to the Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts, Brussels.

    Opening hours (2014):
    Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ticket office closes at 4.30 p.m.)
    Closed on Mondays, January 1, second Thursday of January, May 1, November 1 and 11, December 25.
    Entrance fee: 8 €. Reduced seniors 6 €, 25 yr 2 €.
    Combined ticket Magritte, Modern, Oldmasters, Fin-de-Siècle: 13 €; reduced 9 or 3 €.
    Audioguide (FR, NL, EN, D) 4 €
    Free on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Royal Museum of Fine Arts II - Bruegel

    by breughel Updated Feb 27, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mus��e RBAB -
    1 more image

    Following my comments about the Flemish Primitives of the 15th c. (ref. my tip here) I would like to continue the visit to the OLD MASTERS MUSEUM with the 16th century artists and room 31 where are on display 5 paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder including the famous "Census at Bethlehem", "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" and my favoured one "Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap".
    I always liked this landscape because it is a real landscape which could be found south of Brussels a few centuries ago. The type of village church represented in the painting still exists.

    The "Fall of Icarus" is the only painting of Pieter Bruegel with a scene of the mythology.
    I was always impressed by the indifference of the peasant, the shepherd and the fisher for the tragedy of Icarus drowning himself. Nobody cares for the cry of horror of the poor young man!
    One should observe that this painting was made at the beginning of the Renaissance when the Italians dominated the art with mythological and religious, often grandiloquent, themes.
    Bruegel, although he had been to Italy, ignored voluntarily this trend even in his biblical scenes where the ordinary village people and the landscape supersede the religious event.
    Bruegel the Elder was therefore unique in his century.
    Are also on display three paintings of his elder son Pieter (II) Brueghel the Younger. These are excellent copies of his father's work. (The son used to sign his name with an "h" while his father abandoned the "h" around 1559).

    Opening hours:
    Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ticket office closes at 4 p.m.)
    Closed on Mondays, January 1, second Thursday of January, May 1, November 1 and 11, December 25.
    Entrance fee: 8 euro. Reduced 6 or 2 euro.
    Free on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Royal Museum of Fine Arts III - 16th Century.

    by breughel Updated Feb 27, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mus��e RBAB - Loth and his Daughters

    OLD MASTERS museum - 16th Century.
    The art of painting in the southern Netherlands in the 16th c. showed continuity with painters like Quentin Metsys of the Antwerp school of which the "Virgin and Child Enthroned" and the "Triptych of St-Ann" are shown in room 22.
    New genres appeared under Italian inspiration. Jan Gossaert (called Mabuse) was the first artist to paint mythological nudes in the Netherlands.
    Painters of the 16th and 17th century did only paint nudes as part of scenes of the mythology, antique history or the bible. Ancient art museums are consequently full of naked Venus and Diana being observed by some hidden man.
    Daring scenes of the bible such as "Suzanne and the Elders" showing the male concupiscence or the incest of "Loth and his Daughters" had success among painters and their customers.
    In the moralizing literature of these centuries, these passages serve especially for illustrating the pernicious nature of the women and the misdeeds of the drunkenness; they also form an example of uneven couples by their age, a fashionable subject in that period. One will find good examples of these nudes by Jan Massys (Antwerp, around 1565) in room 29.
    It was also the start of the independent landscape painting with Paternier and the start of genre painting. The museum has also Italian and German paintings of the 16th c.

    Open: 10h00 to 17h00
    Closed on Mondays and on 1st January and on the 2nd Thursday in January, on 1st May, on 1st and 11th November, on 25 December.

    Entrance fee: 8 euro. Reduced 5 euro or 2 euro.
    Free on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month.

    NEW! THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (another part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts) IS CLOSED for renovation works from February 2011 till its reopening in 2012 .

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Royal Museum of Fine Arts IV - Rubens

    by breughel Updated Feb 27, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mus��e RBAB -

    It is impossible to visit any ancient art museum without seeing some Rubens; so for this OLD MASTERS museum in Brussels. Actually I am not a fan of Rubens because most of his numerous paintings are religious and mythological compositions which are not my favoured subjects (in fact my favoured paintings of Rubens are the "Lion Hunt", in Munich and "Landscape with the Castel of Steen", in London).

    The museum of Brussels displays some good religious compositions such as the "Martyr of St Livinius" "Madonna with Myosotis" and the "Road to Calvary" which are typical of the Counter-Reformation movement of which Rubens was one of the leading artists. But best known in Belgium is the study "Têtes de Nègres" which in the past decorated a banknote of 500 BEF.
    Rubens is by no doubt a leading figure of the baroque art with his dynamism, vitality, and sensuous exuberance. His work combines the traditions of Flemish realism with the classical tendencies of the Italian Renaissance.
    This sensuous exuberance is most visible when he paints nudes. I wonder if the women of Antwerp in his time were as fleshy as his models but there is no doubt that Rubens did not like anorexic women.
    He was at the head of a workshop and Rubens's personal contribution to the over 2.000 works produced by this studio varied considerably from work to work.
    Most of his assistants were remarkable painters by themselves and had their specialities: figures for Van Dyck and Jordaens, animals for Frans Snyders, landscapes and flowers for Jan Brueghel "Velvet".
    Last but not least, Rubens was also an effective ambassador, scholar, humanist, classicist, architect, lover and family man.

    Open: 10h00 to 17h00
    Closed on Mondays and on 1st January and on the 2nd Thursday in January, on 1st May, on 1st and 11th November, on 25 December.
    Entrance fee: 8 €. Reduced 6 € for seniors; or 2 euro 25 yr.
    Free on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month.

    NEW for amateurs of Rubens: There is now at the new Le Louvre Lens (between Arras and Lille) a special exhibition: L'EUROPE DE RUBENS with 170 works from 22/05 till 23/09/2013.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Museum of Fine Arts - 17th c. "The King Drinks"

    by breughel Updated Feb 27, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mus��e RBAB -

    The 17th century at this OLD MASTERS museum is much more than Rubens. All the Flemish school is brilliantly represented. First by Jan Brueghel the Elder "Velvet" with a real gem "Still life with Garland of Flowers and Cup". Portraits by Antoon Van Dyck, an ensemble of paintings by David Teniers the Younger.

    Among my favoured paintings here is the large composition "The King Drinks" of Jacob Jordaens. The king in this scene is the one of the feast of the Epiphany who found the bean hidden in the "Twelfth Night" cake (la fève de la galette des rois). This painting was a popular success in Belgium and was often reproduced on biscuit boxes. In the upper part of the painting one will read in old Flemish: "In een vry gelach ist goet gast syn" what means "it is good to be invited when you have not to pay".
    The amateurs of Flemish genre scenes will appreciate the small paintings of Adriaen Brouwer.

    The museum also has a collection of Dutch paintings from the 17th century, with portraits, landscapes and genre scenes typical of the Dutch Golden Age represented by the great names such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, van Ruisdael, and Bakhuysen. Furthermore, as this museum is not showing exclusively "Belgian" painters, the French and Italian schools are present.

    Open: 10h00 to 17h00
    Closed on Mondays and on 1st January and on the 2nd Thursday in January, on 1st May, on 1st and 11th November, on 25 December.

    Entrance fee: 8 euro. Reduced 5 euro or 2 euro.
    Free on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month.

    NEW! THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART (another part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts) IS CLOSED for renovation works from February 2011 till its reopening in 2013 .

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden.

    by breughel Updated Nov 24, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden.

    WARNING: The exhibition has to close because there are water infiltrations resulting from works above the rooms.
    I will not say more but I can tell you that the Belgian media are much critical about all this.

    ==============================
    The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium organizes a special exhibition from 12/10/2013 till 26/01/2014 called:
    L’héritage de Rogier van der Weyden - La peinture à Bruxelles 1450 – 1520.
    The heritage of Rogier van der Weyden - Painting in Brussels 1450-1520.

    This new exhibition is dedicated to painting in Brussels in the period between the death of Rogier van der Weyden (1464) and the emergence of a new spirit in the art by Bernard van Orley (1515-1541). The exhibition aims to provide an overview of what was the pictorial production in Brussels at the end of the fifteenth century and early sixteenth century.
    At that time, Brussels was booming, the dukes of Burgundy (major patrons of arts) had elected the Coudenberg palace as favorite residence.

    The museum explains: "Based on the results of the recent research and the existing studies the exhibition presents an overall picture of painting in Brussels at the late 15th and first years of the 16th centuries, tackling the subject from various viewpoints, historical, iconographic, stylistic, technical, economic and in terms of work organization and exact copying."

    More than 120 works by 60 European, American and even Australian institutions are gathered for the first time, despite their extreme fragility. These are paintings on wood that require strict control of moisture and temperature so that travelling is very exceptional.

    Most of them were painted by what we call "petits maîtres" little masters. For many of them we ignore their name.
    It should be mentioned that from Rogier Van derWeyden himself there are only two paintings on display in this exhibition: "Portrait d'Antoine de Bourgogne " 1430 and a Pieta.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • MikeBird's Profile Photo

    Musées royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique

    by MikeBird Updated Oct 23, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    First floor gallery
    2 more images

    There are two museums of Fine Arts: Modern and Ancient but not being sophisticated in matters artistic I'd find it hard to say when art stops being 'Ancient' to become 'Modern'. The two art galleries are separate entities and you do need to buy tickets for both - our ticket of 8Euros (updated in 2013) gave us entry to both . Take note that the Ancient Art museum closes for an hour's lunch so best to leave the modern art for that time if you can.

    We also had to leave our bags at the free cloakroom.

    I really enjoyed our visit which lasted about 3hours not including a stop in the Museum Café. One thing I like about these national art collections is the opportunity to see famous paintings and I was very pleased to see some by Breughel that I recognised. In fact my favourite painting was by the younger Jan Breughel ( I'd not realised there was also Pieter, father to Jan). The painting was a Still Life of a garland of flowers with some jewellery. The level of detail in this work is exquisite and yet the painting itself is roughly only 50x50cm. Other famous works include those by Rubens, Cranach and Jacques-Louis David.

    The building of the 'Ancient' Art museum is itself impressive and beautifully lit with natural light. The main photo shows part of the first floor whilst others give you an idea of the large atrium.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • zadunajska8's Profile Photo

    Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts

    by zadunajska8 Written Aug 16, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mus��es Royaux des Beaux-Arts
    4 more images

    The Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts are made up of the Musée d'art ancien and the Musée d'art moderne. The modern art section is currently closed for major renovations except a very small taster on display in rooms off the historic art section.

    The galleries are known for what may be the finest collection of Flemish art in the world with many old masters including Rubens and van Dyck.

    My favourite piece is "Mars Being disarmed by Venus" by Jacques-Louis David.

    The galleries are extensive and what you get out of them will very much depend upon what you like, but you'll need to allow at least 2 or 3 hours as a minimum for a decent visit.

    Entry is currently €8 for adults or free with a Brusselscard. You must leave bags in the cloakroom lockers (free, but you need a €1 coin to operate them, which you get back). The museum also has a decent restaurant serving freshly cooked hot food.

    The museum is closed on Mondays.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • gordonilla's Profile Photo

    Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

    by gordonilla Written Mar 6, 2011
    Signage
    4 more images

    It was an enjoyable place to visit - there were some 8 floors and there was a great mix of work. It is the home to a permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions.

    During a visit in early 2011, part of the museum was closed for renovation.

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Royal Museum of Art and History-Cinquantenaire I

    by breughel Updated Jan 29, 2011

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mus��e RAH - Queen TIY  1375 a.J.C.
    1 more image

    The Royal Museum of Art and History is an important one (60.000 m²) that covers all the artistic disciplines (except painting, see museum of Fine Arts), of the five continents (except Sub-Saharan Africa, see Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren).
    The collections are divided into four ensembles:
    1° ANTIQUITY with the Near East (closed for renovation), Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantine and Eastern Christian Art. The objects on display are good but not exceptional (this is not Le Louvre or the British Museum). The best section, in my opinion, is the Egyptian collection assembled thanks to the Belgian Egyptologist Jean Capart. Remarkable is the relief portrait of Queen Tiy, married to Amenophis III (1375 a. J.C.) and the so called "Lady of Brussels". I already visited this museum when I was a kid and felt very impressed by the mummies of which the skeleton is partly apparent. A macabre start for my Egypt mania.
    2° NATIONAL ARCHAELOGY. Prehistory, Gallo-Roman civilisation in Belgium. The Merovingian civilization is closed for renovation.
    3° NON-EUROPEAN CIVILIZATIONS. Islam (a new room on Islam art has been opened on 22/02/2008).
    4° EUROPEAN ARTS AND CRAFTS. Mosan Art, from the Gothic to the Baroque, from the Baroque to the 20th century, Specific materials.

    The collections of art and craft works from the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods are very interesting and among the highlights of this museum. I will comment them in a special tip.

    NOTE: Rooms closed for renovation 2011:
    - Salle des textiles coptes.
    - Salle Océanie.
    - Salle Costumes et dentelles.
    - Salle des Verreries anciennes.
    - Circuit des Arts décoratifs belges du début du XXe siècle.
    - Pavillon Horta-Lambeaux.

    Open: Tuesday - Friday 9.30 - 17 h, Saturday, Sunday, Feast days 10 - 17 h.
    Closed: Monday, 1/01, 1/05, 1/11, 11/11 and 25/12.
    Entrance 5€ (reduced 4 and 1, 5 €).
    No photos allowed.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Maurizioago's Profile Photo

    The Royal Museum of Fine Arts.

    by Maurizioago Updated May 24, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ...Rubens...
    2 more images

    This museum is divided into two sections; the Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

    I only visited the Museum of Ancient Art. This houses paintings, drawings and sculptures from the 15th until 18th century. There you can admire many paintings by the most famous Flemish old masters, such as Breugel, Rubens and Van Dyck. At this museum you can also see the Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David; a painting you have surely seen in some school book

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Sjalen's Profile Photo

    Royal Museum of Fine Arts

    by Sjalen Written Sep 26, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is yet another of those art museums (in fact several merged art museums) that this part of the world is so famous for. The museum hosts art treasures from the 15th century and onwards and include Bruegel, Rubens, Magritte, Watteau, van Gogh and many others. Amongst the more well-known paintings you will find David's "The Death of Marat", but the museum also has a section with sculpture where Rodin and Meunier are just some of the better known names on display. A fantastic way to spend one of those rainy days that Brussels is so famous for!

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • DanielF's Profile Photo

    Visit the Royal Museums of Fine Arts

    by DanielF Updated Feb 22, 2007
    3 more images

    The building that hosts the Royal Museums of Fine Arts is by itself worth of some admiration. The ward facing Regency Street is the master work of Alphonse Balat, King Leopold II's favourite architect.

    Ecclectic in style, the sumptuous entrance is flanked by two large sculptural groups depicting the Glorification of the Art and the Inspiration of the Art.

    The Museum's garden hosts an open-air sculpture collection.

    Was this review helpful?

  • melissa_bel's Profile Photo

    Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique: Moderne

    by melissa_bel Updated Feb 5, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After the Painting of "Marat assassine" starts the Modern Arts part of the museum, covering the XIXth century until now. The second half of the XIXth and first half of the XXth being particularly well represented, especially the symbolic and surrealistic movements that were quite big in Brussels. Amongst the highlights: James Ensor and his witty and ironic paintings with the recuring figure of the skeletons and masks, Fernand Khnopff's "L'Art", the luminous paintings of fauve master Rik Wouters, the moving and monumentals subjects of Constant Permeke, the playfull sculpture of Pol Bury, the poetry of Paul Delvaux know for his oniric subjects mixing naked women and tramways (he has has own room and apart from "La voix publique", my favourite is the "Cruxifiction" a biblical scene with a twist as all subjects are skelettons!)... But the main reason for a lot of art lovers to come to Brussels' Modern Arts Museum is thre Magritte room. The museum has the largest collection of Magritte paintings, a master of the surrealism movement, in the world. Amongst them, my personnal favourite: "L'empire des lumieres" which is a perfect representation of what Magritte was all about: Taking everyday objects and mixing them or putting them into an environment where this object is out of place or disturbing (in this case, the sky is painted as it would be during the day, and the house and trees are in the dark).

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • melissa_bel's Profile Photo

    Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique: Ancient

    by melissa_bel Updated Feb 5, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Located on Place Royale, the Royal Fine Arts Museums are a must-see in Brussels. In fact, there are 2 main museums: Ancient Arts and Modern Arts. You enter the museum via a beautiful common room exhibiting giant paintings from the XiXth century. The Ancient Arts covers the XVth to XVIIIth century with such highlights as Primitive Flemish like Rogier Van Der Weyden. and Hyeronymus Bosch (he has his own room). One of my favourite of those ancient painters is Bruegel the Elder (I saw "Icarus's Fall" so many times in books... ) and its depiction of everyday life in the early Renaissance in the Low Countries. You can feel he really took pleasure in the little joys of the peasants' life at the time. His popular paintings are like little time capsules and show the simple life and pleasure of simple people.

    If there is a Flemish painter I particularly like, it's Pieter-Paul Rubens. He also has his own room. I particularly love the sensuality of his paintings, the colours, the texture... It's the baroque era folks!
    One painting that struck me the most tough was Jacques-Louis David's "Marat Assassiné". This is a painting that everybody has seen in his/her history schoolbook when it's time to talk about the French Revolution. Marat was a Revolution leader and was murdered while taking a bath by Charlotte Corday, who held him accountable for the Terror regime. After the fall of Napoleon, David lived (and died) in exile in Brussels and that's the reason why this painting is in Brussels and not at the Louvres. The simplicity and realism of this work is touching. Marat is in his bathtub, one of his arm just laying out of the tub with a quill in his hand (he was a writer for the paper called "L'ami du peuple" and looks peaceful, as if asleep. David was a personal friend of Marat so that explains it all. The painting is exposed on its own on an solated wall leading the XiXth-century paintings and marks the transtion between the Ancient and Modern Arts museums.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Brussels

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

60 travelers online now

Comments

View all Brussels hotels